Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives. – Author Unknown.
(This is the seventh in an 8-part guest series by Sarah Novak titled “Why Catastrophe ROCKS! An 8-part Series on How to Use Adversity to Your Advantage.” Pic credit: Original Buzz).
In the last 6 posts of this Saturday series, we looked at why catastrophe happens, what responses are available to us, what the potential upsides may be, boundary-setting, how to open up and accept help by asking for what you need, and the getting comfortable with dark emotions.
Today we’re going to explore Clarity, the last of the 5 unexpected benefits of adversity. This important benefit lays the foundation for what we’ll explore next week in the final post of this series, which is how to move forward after adversity.
What Makes Adversity a Catalyst for Transformation?
It is common knowledge that periods of great adversity lead to massive personal growth and transformation.
What we often overlook is how that end result comes into being. The best metaphor I can give you for this change process is that of a tornado forming.
If you remember from middle school science, a tornado comes into being when 3 things happen at the same time; when there’s a thunderstorm (instable weather conditions), a change in wind direction (South to Southwesterly, for example) and a strong updraft.
When these 3 conditions are present, chances are good that a tornado will be sighted.
The 3 Conditions for Change.
The clarity of thought that comes after adversity results in much the same way, with 3 specific conditions combining to create entirely new insights and awareness. These 3 conditions are: A feeling of desperation, a shift in perspective or thinking and a sense of determination.
Let’s explore each of these more closely.
DESPERATION – Because of the absolute destruction that catastrophe wreaks on our life, there is often the realization that we can no longer continue on in the same way. This leaves us desperately searching for a new solution. While horribly uncomfortable, desperation has the positive effect of opening us to new options that we may not have considered before.
That’s where condition 2 comes in.
A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE OR THINKING – Because we are in unfamiliar territory, we turn to our right brain to find creative new solutions to our problem. Once engaged with our right brain, we can then explore the wide array of possibilities before us without our logical mind aborting the process prematurely.
Inevitably, as we consider more possibilities for our life, the simple opening to other ways of being creates a lasting change in perspective or thinking.
DETERMINATION – As humans, we are naturally conditioned to avoid pain. The desperation and uncertainty of adversity are at best, uncomfortable and at worst, pure hell. Our desire to eliminate the pain creates a fierce determination within us to resolve the problem.
This helps us tap into our resourcefulness, ultimately reuniting us with our courage and resilience. Once there, it’s only a matter of time before things start to change.
And that’s exactly how it plays out.
DESPERATION ACTS AS THE CATALYST THAT SHIFTS OUR THINKING AND ACTIVATES OUR COURAGE.
It is a rich, rewarding process that results in total clarity around what’s most important in life. And from that place of clarity life becomes a lot easier. We suddenly know just what relationships need to be invested in, which activities need to go and exactly what we’re going to do to make that happen.
How clarity shows up.
Our logical mind wants us to believe that clarity only comes via our thoughts. In reality, there are a multitude of sources that we can gather information from.
Some of these may include: intuition, dreams, prayer/meditation, bodily awareness/physical sensations or other people.
When we keep ourselves open to ALL our possible sources of information, we give ourselves the best chance to follow our TRUE PATH.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! What are you taking away from this post? What sources provide you with your greatest clarity? As always, thanks for sharing the post.
As a Cancer Coach, Sarah Novak is committed to helping female cancer survivors use their experience as a catalyst for transformation in their lives. Although we cannot control our circumstances, we CAN always decide how we choose to be with our reality. Check out www.coachsarahnovak.com to learn about her private and group coaching programs + receive her free guide: “Coping with the Everyday Fears of Cancer: How to Minimize Fear and Anxiety by Transforming Your Thoughts.”
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